By Chris Errington
Paddy ‘Irish’ Murphy, 25, is steadily climbing the rankings in the Australian Welterweight Division. Currently sitting ninth with a record of 7-0-1 (4 KO’s), the born-again warrior from Newry, Northern Ireland has found a new lease of life on the sun-drenched streets of Brisbane, Australia. Robbed of victory in his last outing against the thoroughly outclassed Yang Xing Xin, he’s yet to taste the canvas, never mind defeat. His march to glory doesn’t look like ending any time soon. Teak-tough, economic with his punches and cool headed in the ring… Paddy took some time out to discuss his reasons for leaving home, his progress so far, and his aspirations for the future.
CE: “Let’s talk about robbery. Your 0 is still intact but there’s no doubt you should be sitting at 8-0-0 instead of 7-0-1. Hong Kong brought you exposure but also gave you a metaphorical slap in the face. The decision was poor. You weren’t happy. I was perplexed. As your manager Matt Clark told me… it was the worst decision he’s ever been involved in. In retrospect I think the judges wanted a Chinese win before the first bell. You dominated so they couldn’t play it that way, instead pushing as far as they could with a draw. I’d like you to know the crowd wasn’t fooled. I sat with a group of Chinese and they thought it was a horrendous decision.
Was it initially hard to motivate yourself after that? Are you determined to make even more of a statement next time out? You didn’t hide your feelings in the post-fight interview, and rightly so. Do you think the scorecards were the result of a hidden agenda or was it just a case of poor officiating? It’s hard to see how any judge could legitimately be so far off the mark.”
PM: “I really enjoyed Hong Kong. I didn't get the win I was hoping for but I had a great trip. I’d love to go back. It was a privilege to fight on Hatton Promotions Asia Pacific's first show. I thought I won every round and I was disappointed at the decision but it could have been worse. It’s a small blemish on my record but it wasn't a loss. I accepted the decision and by the time we left the convention centre I had already gotten over it. I’ve been on the wrong end of poor judging as an amateur a few times so it wasn't completely new territory.
Had I thought that the judging could have been poor I would have boxed more aggressively so next time out that will be the case. I watched the fight today for the first time and still feel I won every round, but I should have upped the gears and won more convincingly. I blame poor officiating for the result. It’s unfortunate but these things happen in the sport.”
CE: “You had a very successful amateur career… You won Silver at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2006 and with ninety five amateur victories you knew your way around a ring more than many who sign professional terms. Despite this solid foundation you left Ireland for full time carpentry work in Australia, shelving your boxing aspirations until your hunger returned. I emigrated to Australia too so I can relate to the need for change, but why did you walk away from a sport that you’re so capable of excelling in? Your pro-record proves you’ve a chance to do more than pay the bills, so if you don’t mind, what were your reasons for leaving the sport behind? How long was it before you laced up the gloves again? … And what pulled you back to boxing in the end?”
PM: “Before I joined The Boxing Shop with Gareth Williams I had a two year break. Id trained five times a week since I was nine years old and just felt I needed time away but boxing has been a huge part of my life and I knew the hunger would return. My amateur coach in Ireland was having a few health problems and thinking of him inspired me to glove up again.”
CE: “In only your second professional bout you fought Mick ‘Pony’ Shaw. He was a forty-five fight veteran at the time. This shows how much faith your team had in you right from the get-go. Were you not daunted going up against such a seasoned professional so early in your career? He’s a former Australian Light Welterweight Champion and Queensland Lightweight Champion. He’s beaten ex world champion Kongthawat Sor Kitti of Thailand, who took future hall of famer Chris John the distance and lasted nine rounds with Michael Katsidis. He’s also shared the ring with world class operators Billy Dib and Solomon Embergime. His experience outweighed yours by a country mile. How did it feel as you boxed him to a virtual shutout decision? Did you learn a lot from that fight, given the amount of experience he brought to the table? Was it the hardest fight in your fledgling career? If not, which was?”
PM: “Mick Shaw is a warrior. He gave me my toughest fight by far. We had a few opponents pull out the week of the fight and were short of options. I knew Mick was a very experienced fighter and I was a bit worried at first but I have 100% faith in Gareth's fight selection. I learned a lot from this fight. Mick was, as expected, tough and rugged and they were four hard rounds. I was pushed, pulled, lifted and thrown and I enjoyed every minute of it. I stepped up against a seasoned campaigner and took the decision and realised how tough the pro game was going to be. I was happy with the result and the experience I gained from it.”
CE: “If you don’t mind me saying you seem like a humble guy Paddy. You’ve stated before that you don’t want to make predictions about the future… that you just want to keep boxing and see where your performances take you. In an industry where ever boxer and his dog proclaim themselves future world champions, however undeserving they may be, it’s refreshing to see a fighter grounded in honesty and realism. Everybody has to walk before they can run, and you aren’t getting carried away with things so far. Have you surprised yourself though? Do you sometimes think you’re better suited to the pro-game than you first thought? Have your aspirations changed?...Perhaps become higher?”
PM: “Boxing is a tough and often cruel sport and a career path can change with one punch. With this in mind I think it’s hard to plan too far ahead. Every boxer wants to win titles and I'm no different. Obvious goals would be to win an Australian title and I’d love an Irish title. I have big dreams and believe that if I have the opportunity to train full time in the sport I love that I can excel. I haven't adapted to the pro game as fast as I would have liked but there’s plenty of time for improvement. I love training and I’m always learning. I will improve with each fight. I have a great management team and a great coach helping me on my path.”
CE: “Disregarding the result in Hong Kong, if you keep performing as you have the only changes on your record will be in the win column. Sooner or later that’ll lead to the big boys. Who do you think are the best welterweights out there? If you could take those fights tomorrow, win or lose, would you?”
PM: “I think welterweight has a really healthy division and there are a lot of great boxers out there who, on their day, could all beat each other. As much as I’d love a big fight I know that I’m not ready as I’m still only learning the pro game. A few years down the line with a few more fights under my belt I’d jump at the chance.”
CE: “What’s next for you? As far as I know you don’t have another bout lined up just yet. Any idea when you’ll be back in the ring? You haven’t fought for a domestic title yet so is this your immediate goal? Sam Colomban and Fred Tukes will slug it out for the vacant Australian Welterweight Title in February. Both have tasted defeat, but Colomban especially has impressive wins on his resume. Fighters like Guillermo Mosquera and Philip Holiday are no easy pickings. He took care of both. He’s also held a few titles. Last time out he gave a solid performance but came up short against the excellent Denton Vassell in England (UD12). Are you familiar with Colomban or Tukes? Does anything particularly impress you about them?”
PM: “It would be an honour to fight for a domestic title in my adopted country. This may be something we’ll be looking at this year. I haven't seen either fighter in action but I will certainly be watching that fight.”
CE: “And lastly Paddy… is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans back home and in Australia apart from “Don’t fight in Hong Kong”?
PM: “Don't let it go the distance! I’d like everyone to know that I’m very grateful for all the support. I’m often humbled by messages I receive wishing me well. I’ve had a lot of messages from Hong Kong folk hoping that they see me fight back there again which was nice. I hope to repay all the support with victories and good performances.”